Books I've Read

Book Review: Mosquitoland

MosquitolandTitle: Mosquitoland

Author: David Arnold

Series: none

Edition: paperback

Blurb: After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the “wastelands” of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland.

So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane.

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I have so many other reviews that I should probably get written first, but I had to jump ahead to this one, especially since so many people were curious about this one.

First things first – I LOVED this book. I probably could have read it in one sitting if I had the time. I loved everything about Mim – her quirkiness, her dark sense of humor. But before I get into my review, I wanted to address a few things that I saw on GoodReads where people were giving this one star reviews.

Is this book for everyone? Of course not! There are very few books that are. I saw several people say that David Arnold was trying to copy John Green’s formula of making teenagers way too deep and philosophical for their age. Okay, first of all, John Green has sold a lot of books using this formula, if you want to call it that, and he has garnered a lot of teenage fans who could identify with his characters. If that was David Arnold’s inspiration, it’s not a bad one to use. Besides that, every time I see someone make that complaint about Green or Arnold or any number of YA authors, I feel like they are denigrating teenagers as a whole. Sure, many of us were chuckleheads at that age, but I knew and know a lot of very mature, thoughtful, philosophical teens who would fit very easily into any of these narratives.

The other complaint about Arnold’s writing that I saw was that the experiences Mim has were too convenient and too unrealistic. Um, hello? This is FICTION! It’s not a true story! If a character or a scenario exists as only a plot point, well then, that was the author’s choice. Whether or not it was a good choice can be debatable, but don’t get down on authors for making their fiction too fictitious. That’s kind of their job, unless they are writing a biography or something, and even then, there’s some wiggle room.

I thought this book was beautifully written. I love when characters do something that I know I would never have the courage to do, in this case, take off across the country to find out answers. During the trip, Mim meets all kinds of people, including the sweet old lady, Arlene; the creepy “Pancho Guy;” Walt, a lovable kid with Downs Syndrome; and many more (including one major one that I am leaving out because I don’t want to spoil some things).

At several times in the book, Mim is writing letters to “Isabel,” someone we don’t fully understand until the very end of the book.This is one that I am looking forward to re-reading some day so that I can go back and see how the letters make me feel now that I know who Isabel is. I’m sure that will change some things. She also shares many memories about her mother, who she doesn’t live with. We don’t find out why until the end, and although it wasn’t a huge surprise, it still packs a pretty hard punch. We also see her trying to come to grips with her father and new stepmother, which includes a whole lot of resentment and anger.

I thought this book was great. I gave it five stars on GoodReads.

Books I've Read

Double Review: Cress and Winter by Marissa Meyer

Titles: Cress and Winter

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3 & 4

Edition: e-book

CressBlurb (Cress): In this third book in Marissa Meyer’s bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and prevent her army from invading Earth.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl trapped on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s being forced to work for Queen Levana, and she’s just received orders to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is splintered. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price than she’d ever expected. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai, especially the cyborg mechanic. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

WinterBlurb (Winter): Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters? Fans will not want to miss this thrilling conclusion to Marissa Meyer’s national bestselling Lunar Chronicles series.

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Finally trying to catch up on my book reviews! Yay!

What can I say about this series that hasn’t already been said? Whenever a series starts getting a lot of hype, it is rare that the follow ups live up to expectations. These two last books blew my expectations out of the water.

Cress is probably my favorite character out of the entire series. She is so adorable! Her discovery of Earth after spending her entire life in a satellite above it is so full of childlike wonder. It’s beautiful to read, and such an interesting take on the Rapunzel fairy tale.

I think that’s what I like best about this series. It takes familiar stories and spins them in a completely new and interesting sci-fi, dystopian direction. And Meyer does it brilliantly, bringing the story to a gripping conclusion that I could not put down. Each book adds new depth and life into this world and each one gets better and better.

Five stars. Both books. Actually, all four books. They are awesome.

Books I've Read

Book Review: Scarlet

scarlet lunarTitle: Scarlet

Author: Marissa Meyer

Series: Lunar Chronicles #2

Edition: Paperback

Blurb: Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

This book! This series! I am loving it!

Ahem. On to a more rational sounding review.

The thing about this whole series is that it shouldn’t work this well, to have fairy tales retold in a futuristic setting. Cinderella as a cyborg? Little Red Riding Hood flying space pods? The Big Bad Wolf being . . . well, I won’t go there necessarily since it might be a spoiler. I think that’s what I like best about this series as a whole – it feels fresh and original, and in a world where there are so many copycat story lines aiming for what’s popular and will make money, this is refreshing.

I loved how seamlessly the new characters and their story lines were interwoven into where we left off in Cinder (which I also very much enjoyed). It was nice to see other parts of this new futuristic world – where Cinder takes place in China, Scarlet starts off in France. The world building in this series is really incredible and it was great to see a bit more of that.

We also finally got to see a bit of Luna itself! Queen Levana is still terrible and I’m so worried about Kai, but several other Lunars get to have the spotlight for a bit and you can see that they are not all just straight up evil. I like that there isn’t just a black and white, them versus us thing going on here. It makes it much more believable and true to life. Even Levana gets a brief moment where you see some vulnerability, where you can tell that there’s more to her story than just that she’s a tyrant set on taking over Earth. I can’t wait to see how that plays out.

So all in all, a great second installment to an already enjoyable series. Can’t wait to see what happens next!

GoodReads Rating: 5 STARS!